Lake Forest says ‘Hola’ to new Mexican restaurant
A margarita flight at Authentico in Lake Forest August 15. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Authentico Mexican Restaurant & Bar
SPECIALTY: Mexican dishes with a modern twist made from scratch each day with dine-in, carry out and catering options.
LOCATION: 770 N. Western Ave., Lake Forest
HOURS: Kitchen is open from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday; 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Bar open 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, Saturday.
CONTACT: www.AuthenticoRestaurant.com; (847) 295-3500;
Updated: September 4, 2012 9:47AM
LAKE FOREST — It’s been open less than a month, yet diners already have fallen in love with the healthier Mexican cuisine, margarita drink samplers and comfortable décor at Authentico Mexican Restaurant & Bar.
“Our mission is to change how people view Mexican food,” said chef and partner Antonio Gutierrez. The Authentico cuisine is healthy Mexican combined with a modern twist.
Gutierrez, Javier Solorio and Gina Troiani are three managing partners who have teamed up with three local Lake Forest families to operate the new 2,200-square-foot restaurant and bar at 770 N. Western Ave. in Lake Forest.
Authentico offers the freshest ingredients available to create dishes from scratch every day. Even the tortillas and sauces, such as a mango salsa, are created fresh daily. No preservatives are used.
“Our food is high-end quality, but not associated with high-end cost,” said Troiani.
The biggest sellers so far are fish tacos, made with Mahi-Mahi, and enchiladas. The menu also features soup, appetizers, salads, seafood, lean beef and steak, chicken and pork entrees as well as dessert.
A $6 kids menu has found a loyal following, with build-your-own tacos, burritos and guacamole. Kids are always welcome at the comfortable eatery. Customers can dine in or carry out food; catering also is available.
“We get the early family crowd during the week and on Sundays it’s definitely a family crowd,” said Troiani.
The typical Authentico customers so far have been “across the board,” from business people to couples to family gatherings and parties, said Troiani.
“We’re pulling in people from nearby communities,” Troiani said, “but our No. 1 customers are our locals.”
Inside, the Old World décor with a modern twist features 200-year-old barn wood accents, brightly colored reclaimed doors hung as artwork, copper, mosaic tiles, and distinctive wine and candle walls.
The orange, yellow and blue are reminiscent of Solorio’s hometown of Guanajuato, Mexico.
The restaurant can accommodate 140 diners in three seating areas. There’s typical combination restaurant seating in front with a small, semi-private area for 25 in the back separated by custom-designed double U-shaped booths that seat eight each. A few patio tables are outside.
The 18-person bar and a lounge area for waiting, or simply enjoying the Authentico atmosphere, seats eight.
“This is a great location,” said Troiani. “It’s across the street from the Metra stop and downtown Lake Forest. It’s very easy for people to find and to get to, whether they’re coming off the train from work or just walking around and shopping in the area.”